but [the sabbath] which I have made, in which I will give rest to all things and make the beginning of an eighth day, that is the beginning of another world. Wherefore we also celebrate with gladness the eighth day in which Jesus also rose from the dead, and was made manifest, and ascended into Heaven.
Epistle of Barnabas, XV.8-9
If the world has been made new, why do we Christians dream of leaving it and going to ‘heaven’? If we ourselves are ‘new creation’, destined for incorruptible bodies and a rich, physical life, why do we rarely celebrate the physicality, the humanness, of Christ’s risen body? If we begin our weeks with the day of resurrection, if Easter is the height of our year and Jesus’ life the hinge of history, why fear celebrating Spirit-indwelt bodies in the here and now? Why not revel in the goodness of physical bodies, activity, service, and their capacity to last, through judgement, into the renewed world where Christ will reign unchallenged?
This project is an attempt to create poems, songs, and reflections for those who believe God made the world and saw that it was good. It is for those who realise that renewal, not destruction, is the destiny of this earth, including our human bodies made from it. It is offered in Barnabas’ spirit of celebration and gladness. It celebrates the potential, the possibility, and the glory glimmering within everyday life, even our lives, this side of the resurrection.
Hopkins famously noted that “Christ plays in ten thousand places, / Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his / To the Father through the features of men’s faces”. This is an effort to see that play – in people, in history, in creation, in stuff.